Thursday, August 27, 2009

Day four...

I feel challenged. Ugh. We have taken 2 steps forward and 1 step back. We will get there eventually though!

I may need to re-do orientation counseling... or at least a portion of it. I also realized, after our session today, that he may just need a break. We did review, read another page... he struggled more today with reading than he has in a while...???? We moved to character recognition (forming the letters of the alphabet with clay) and practicing touch-and-say both forward and backward. He did have fun with it though.

Time will tell. I felt like a failure for a while this morning though. Isn't that a common hymn among homeschool moms? Then, I had to remind myself, the 'enemy' wants me to feel like a failure and I don't want him to win. NO... I want to glorify my Heavenly Father. So, I will choose to focus on the positive :-)

He did read a bit better when I used paper to cover the lines not being read (a common recommendation for dyslexics when reading). He did better when I relaxed and worried less (I was patient with him the whole time, but I am sure he sensed my tension... some kids have a knack for that!). And, like I said, he did enjoy the character recognition. That gives us a base to start from.

Bk, who has decided to be difficult about learning anything actually participated as well and I saw her, when she thought I wasn't looking, putting herself through the recognition exercises I had put B through. Perhaps another good outcome is realizing Bk probably needs some one-on-one time with mom too.

Blessings to all this Thursday!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Organizing My Back-to-School

It's "Back-to-School"! I do love this time of year. The smell of pencils, the bright rows of brand-new crayon boxes, and markers that actually work (because we can replenish our supply at such a great deal this time of year!) If I were alive 100+ years ago, I would have been a teacher in one of those one-room pioneer schools. Lighting fires of knowledge that would sweep the frontier! Instead, I teach in a 'one-room classroom' in my home to three rambunctious kiddos, lighting fires that I hope will one-day help to shape our world.

We are "officially" starting school on Monday, August 31st. It works around DH's schedule best and I have read a lot lately about how we should work our homeschooling around our hubby and other important portions of our days. I feel peace about this angle.

Planning that start date may have been a blessing in disguise. The local schools started today. My kids were asking to visit with friends this afternoon and seemed somewhat surprised when I pointed out that they started school today and won't be home until later! Perhaps, by next week, my children will feel so displaced without the neighborhood gang that our schooling will be a welcome reprieve!!

I am in the process of organizing the material I plan to use this year. Everything has been torn out and sorted into piles by subject and are just waiting to be put in their 'homes' for the year. We do unit studies because it is best for the types of learners I am raising. It is also a technique I am very familiar with from working with preschoolers for many years.

About 7 years ago I developed a system for organizing our unit studies. I have fine-tuned it since so that it could evolve for its application in the homeschool environment.

I don't know how clear this will show on the net. Each month has 5 lines, 1 for each week (some months have 5 weeks). The small column on the left under each month is for the date range, ie: [August] 3 - 7. The pictures you see sloppily sketched on some weeks are holidays, observances, and family birthdays. I also note when there will be a Monday or Friday off during a week. This helps me to better plan around those events (or with them!)
This approach helps me to articulate focus for each week. I have taken some frequently read advice this year and tried to plan some down or gap weeks for overflow and breaks. Too much planned too closely together seems to overwhelm us and we end up having to drop various plans for lack of time or need of break! I wanted this year's schedule to be more realistic and attainable. After all, I am educating a middle-schooler this year! A task I do not take lightly :-)
Something new we are trying this year is an idea I developed by expanding a system I already used. In previous years I kept a hanging folder in my file drawer with manila files for "week 1, week 2, week 3, week 4". I also kept a hanging file titled, "next month". This system allowed me to file worksheets and other activity ideas according to when we planned to do them.
I still have the weekly folders, as you might be able to recognize in the picture below, but the files within them are labeled per child and are intended to be used for spelling, math, and individualized learning projects this year. Behind the weekly files are my unit study files. This is my new concept.
My plan is: when I come across ideas that I may want to use on a unit, I can pop them into their respective file and find them ready to use when the time comes. This coincides with a web system I have in my notebook behind the above lesson plan sheet. (one web per unit)

Don't my files look under-nourished? That is where the piles on my desk come in (and... shhhh... don't tell, but there are two boxes on the floor whose contents will be placed in these files before the week is out as well!!)
I have had so many disappointments in the past. We get done with a unit study and I go to put things away and find items we could have used but were forgotten because all unit possibilities were not in one place. I am excited to use this system this year!

For those of you following along from yesterday, when I posted pictures of the mess on my desk, the mess is still there!! But this... above... is what I did accomplish. I seem to work by the old adage that, 'it will get worse before it gets better'! I am off to make it get better today :-)
Happy schooling to all!

Day three...

Today wasn't as good as yesterday... but it wasn't as off-kilt as Monday! We did the orientation portion of the therapy and then proceeded to reading. Reading didn't go quite as well as yesterday nor did he retain as much as yesterday. However, there were more distractions today and to that effect, his APD symptoms surfaced.

Sisters found a caterpillar and I think the whole neighborhood became aware of it, then DH decided to cook eggs and we were working in the dining room (with only our counter separating the two rooms). I had to remind myself that, even in a perfect world, distractions will abound. I chose to use them as a factor in the session to try and mount and overcome. It beat being royally frustrated!

Tomorrow we will definitely start our session with "Review" and then we will start the symbol recognition portion of therapy. I plan to include the girls in that part. Bk can use it and Ash will still think it is fun :-)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day two...

Day two with B went well. I did re-read a few chapters last night and found where I messed up a bit yesterday ((oops)) Ron Davis does say that you can not 'harm' a child by doing the counseling wrong. ((phew))

We did re-adjust his orientation point. I think we will do one more day of setting his orientation point and then spend subsequent sessions starting with "Review" as recommended by the book.
My one testimony so far is that, Ron Davis has done orientation counseling with high scholars (and older) and seen them (in some cases) have reading scores that improved 8 grade levels after just one session! B isn't old enough to see those kind of results, however, he is starting the "4th grade" this year and his reading is much closer to grade level after two sessions of counseling than it was before we started. But even more amazing than that is his comprehension. Today we read a full page in a 4th grade primer and he could actually tell me what he read... for the first time in his life!!!!

The flip side of day two is my 'experiment' with Ash to see if this counseling works for the symptoms of ADHD. The answer would be, "no". She could not complete one of the key steps to the therapy process (moving the mind's eye to various places). This is not uncommon if a person is not a candidate for orientation counseling. Apparently the info I saw on the Internet was not accurate... at least not for Ash.

We are going to try a different angle for her though. We talked about brick walls and tunnels for blocking out distractions. We discussed the idea of a trial-and-error process to attempt to head off some of her ADHD symptoms in situations were her focus is required. I pray it works.

With day two behind, I am off to organize the PILES of curriculum on my desk!

No, really, these piles are in 'order'. This one here is spelling worksheets I printed, that one there is rhymes I need to file, the one just next to it is math books and the other pile is math workbooks.... yah, I know, I do have a lot of work to do! lol

Trembling on a rock.

I must confide a Divine revelation before the pitter-patter of little (and big) feet take over my day...

I won't go into the historical details right now, but the base is this: My husband and I had a very rocky start to our marriage. It was through re-devoting my life to Christ and following Him that my marriage began to mend. I read books like, "The Power of a Praying Wife" by Stormie Omartian (Which I HIGHLY recommend to EVERY wife or woman considering marriage). I have read, and enjoyed, 2 Corinthians along with other passages in scripture that define the roles husbands and wives play in their marriage... for the purpose of strengthening mine.

This last year, as I outlined briefly in my blog, Homeschool Convention or Bust, it was time to replant myself in the proper position for life's storms. So I bought the book, "A Woman After God's Own Heart" by Elizabeth George. I had heard good things about it and was hoping to rediscover the connection I felt was lost between me and my Heavenly Father.

As I am reading it in July, I find Mrs. George spending, what seemed to me, an exorbitant amount of time on the role wives play in their marriage and the effect that has on our relationship with God. I was becoming frustrated. Surely I have read enough about marriage to not have to keep learning about it... right? Never mind (and I wasn't thinking) that I was actually frustrated with my husband for suggesting the weight of a yard sale on my summer which was suppose to be my free time/new homeschool year prep-time. I felt frustrated and I put the book down.

This last week my attitude and my perceptions reached a pivotal low. I could have gone lower but I was at the point of realizing something had to be done. I stepped into the shower Saturday night and lifted it all in prayer. "God, please, show me why I can't seem to change my mood and perk up my attitude" and almost instantly, God showed me the above.

His voice seeped softly into my heart. He reminded me that, no matter where I am in my faith walk or my marriage, it is always nice to be reminded of the little things. And in this case, my husband had asked me to do something. He had even offered to help with the entire process. He looked after me while I worked and made sure I took care of my body so I wasn't in too much pain. My husband was a 2 Corinthians husband and I.... well, I only complained and moaned.

God does not want to hear us complain when we are called to serve. Whether we are serving a spouse, someone in need, our family, our church, or Him. Scriptures tell us to follow and obey.

I have asked forgiveness for my sin of disobedience and I am working, slowly, on pushing my attitude back into place. But one last thought.

I listen to Chuck Swindoll with Insight for Living on my local Christian radio station. I don't always get to hear him preach because of duties that call! So I subscribed to his newsletter.

Sitting here this morning and reading the lesson, Pastor Swindoll quoted an 'old country preacher' and I just had to share it with you:

"I may tremble on the rock, but the rock doesn't tremble under me."

Amen to that.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Day one...

Day one of the Davis counseling went.... ok. I am a bit confused though. I thought the point of orientation counseling was to bring the mind's eye into our center.... not out of it. I am going to re-read the chapters that surround this method... again!

All in all though, we did the first two phases of orientation counseling and then put them to the test. It was easy to tell when his orientation started to sway and it was nice to have a point to re-orient him to. It made reading much less painful!

When I was looking for some instruction videos last night I came across various info that suggested the use of this technique on ADHD and autistic children. My thoughts on the matter are... if you have a child that has difficulty focusing and keeping his/her mind from wandering, the orientation phase of this method may be very helpful.

If I have you confused, please forgive me. As I get my bearings about this process, I will share greater detail. If you do know what I am talking about and have any tips... please let me know :-) For now.... I'm hoping for a great Day two! I plan to start with Ash tomorrow afternoon (B works with me in the morning on it) to see if we can help her focus through her ADHD. I will keep updating...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Seeking Glory Through Home Education

I have 262 messages in my email in-box and felt it was about time I went through them!! The yard sale made me do it!

I am currently an hour into checking out links through TOS's 2009 Homeschool Freebie Directory and I came across a website called Soli Deo Gloria Resources. The author explains the name as Latin for, "To God Alone The Glory". Amen to that.

As I am skimming through this website I came across this:

Why do we educate our children?
  • If we educate our children so that they will be intelligent and successful - we may be seeking THEIR glory.
  • If we educate our children so that they will impress our family, friends and neighbors - we may be seeing OUR OWN glory.
  • If we educate our children so that they can pour forth facts and figures accurately - we may be seeking the glory of KNOWLEDGE (and knowledge puffs up).
  • But if we educate our children so that they have a big view of God, are aware of their individuals giftings and seek to use them for the advancement of God's Kingdom around the world and in eternity - then we are seeking GOD's glory.

Wow. Do I feel humbled at His feet now.

When I first started homeschooling, my oldest was in 8th grade (as some of you already know, he still isn't homeschooled like his younger 3 siblings for complex reasons). If you factor in Kindergarten and preschool and all of the volunteer work I did through the years in district, that is over 9 years of publicly educated influences on my ideals of what school should be. Add to that a close and dear friend who is a retired elementary school teacher and the influences on my "teaching" techniques in home educating has been riddled with faulty indoctrination.

Among this indoctrination is the idea that children should be trained to recite, perform, and exhibit a general knowledge of facts based on local and federal mandates of what education looks like. Hmmm... this doesn't sound or look like a way to train up children for the Glory of God.

I spent 6 months out of the last 2 years unschooling my children. I had read early on that the best thing to do when you pull your children out of public school is nothing at all! Sound counter-productive? I thought so too. But it is like starting a good diet/eating habit. Sometimes you have to purge your system of all the toxins and chemicals that have polluted your body and created a cycle of unhealthy habits.

Children who have been in the public system first have been polluted with the unhealthy habits of what makes you "popular" in "normal" society. All of these habits have nothing to do with Glorifying our Heavenly Father.

As I gathered together our daily schedule and unit studies for this year I considered the necessity of keeping our focus on Him. Yes I want my kids to know their history, math, science, and language arts. They need those to function later in life and obtain degrees, jobs, and support families. But first and foremost, I want them to know the God that blesses these routes when we pursue all goals through His guidance and His grace.

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" Matthew 6:33

We must seek to glorify God through all that we teach our children. After all, children are God's gift to us. They are not ours, but His. What better "thank you" can we express than to train them up...

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Back and beat

I am back and I fear I will have to hit the ground running! What an odd weekend we had. The long and short is this:

DH threw his back out about 2 weeks ago and it had gotten so bad he could barely move. Had to see the massage therapist. In the midst of all this I entered weekend TWO of Yard Sale attempts... this time clear skies and warm weather. Not as profitable as our rained out attempt last weekend... shockingly!

Because the yard sale was a small distance away at the in-law's, I spent Thursday night on a flat air mattress outside in our tent surrounded by 3 of my darling kids. No cartilage/disks in my lower spine made that a fun adventure... not! Friday night I had a lot more air... didn't find myself flat until about 4 a.m. with an hour left to sleep anyway and Bk, who was sharing the mattress with me, sleeping practically on me from our lopsided situation!! At least she is a good cuddler! (I did enjoy the 'camp out' with the kids though :-)

The pool was closed Friday, the hottest day of the week and family problems (a verrrry long story) after two weeks of being away from my home on this cash raising endeavor took its tole. All I can say is I am glad to be home!!!!!!!!!!

I plan to start B's therapy with the Davis Method on Monday. I pray it goes well. I am going to re-read the process tomorrow so my brain is freshly familiar with it. I did realize today that my stress over APD and Dyslexia and the sharing of knowledge has stemmed from an adult life unintentionally rooted in leading others. I realized today that I can step back and be the test subject, sharing what I learn, without being the tester! Realizing this has increased my excitement for sharing and I am looking forward to the interactive conversations with others on these subjects... and anything else we get to sharing about!!

Also, DH and I discussed other cash raising endeavours I have pursued in the past and I am going to be looking into them again. I am very excited (I use to make and sell craft items at craft shows).

I am glad the whole yard sale ordeal is over! I am looking forward to some new and revived/exciting things coming up!

Blessings to all this August weekend!

Monday, August 17, 2009

This last week of summer...

Oh boy, where do I start? What a weekend! It POURED rain on us Friday, off and on drizzled on Saturday. We did make some money on the yard sale, but I have to wonder if we would have made considerably more in better weather! DH wants to try one more weekend! The good news is that all things are priced and sorted (and dried out from all the wet!) so it would just be a matter of setting things out for browsers. I guess that is our intention... this Friday and Saturday... again.

I still do not have enough together to feel "ready" to start back to schooling with the kids. Am thinking of taking a different approach to my organizing. It is only Monday though. I am hoping for a more productive Tuesday in that area!

I have been considering a lot in regards to my blogs on these days of work and organization for the yard sale. I am becoming nervous about my posts regarding APD. Since my son does not have an official diagnoses and Dr. Bellis is animate about this in her book, When the Brain Can't Hear. I do not want to mislead anyone. Add to that apprehension the fact that there are many faces of APD and our situation is but one.

I am still thinking (and praying) on my direction here. I will share my discoveries and experiences but I am thinking I need to lean away from any indication that I am qualified to give information on APD as a reliable alternative to seeking advice from a specialist. I do presume most people visit blogs (like mine) as a means to see what other parents think and not as a source for professional info. I do have a tendency to want to help and I have, in the past, put myself out farther than I should! I guess I could be guilty of worse!

So... at this point in time... those who are waiting for the impending APD presentation, I will share what I can throughout my blogging. I do HIGHLY recommend the book, When the Brain Can't Hear by Teri James Bellis, PH.D. It is packed with invaluable information and resources that, if I were to repeat in full here, would take volumes and put me at risk for plagiarism!!!! Please, if you have an APD child, get this book, read it, and share what strikes you as profound and helpful.

... among a handful of others I did not know were out there. If you have read books other than the one by Dr. Bellis, let me know what you think of them, if they were helpful, and whether you would recommend them to me! I am always in search of more info :-)

Hopefully things will begin to smooth back out over the next few weeks... when DH and Z are back to school, out of the house, and me and the "kids" are back to our school year routine. Oh how I love our routines ;-) (yes, I know, I am a bit crazy!)

Best wishes to all.... I will check in as I can in this last crazy week of summer "vacation"! Message me... I love to hear from you :-)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Stepping out

I am stepping out for about a week and thought I would let everyone know. DH has insisted on a garage sale for more than a month now and the BIG weekend is coming up (8/14 - 8/15). With no jobs in site I feel DH's persistence is divinely inspired so I am going along.

We don't have a garage sale often so when we do, advertising "HUGE" is not an exaggeration! A lot of work ahead and I pray my body holds out.

For those of you waiting for the article on APD and others looking for more info on Dyslexia... hang in there. I will be getting those items posted the week following our sale. If you have the ability to use PowerPoint (free viewers can be downloaded from Microsoft) I do have an overview slide show of APD. Message me and let me know if you would like it emailed to you.

Blessings to all.... :-D

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Finding truth in the midst of lies.

My resolve is being put to test on my previous blog on family management. 15 years of sleepovers isn't easy to abolish! Even when friends can come HERE, it seems the ability to go THERE is more pressing! Lord, help me, guide me, strengthen me! Added to this stress is my confusion over Bible reading this morning in Mark 7:25 - 30 . I decided to do a search so I could understand this puzzling conversation between Jesus and a Syrophoenician woman.

My research kept leading me to websites that tried to say this passage could not possibly be authentic or that Jesus was all but referring to this woman as scum because of reference to dogs. My blood was boiling and I was in the midst of feeling betrayed by my Lord, by the Bible, by life in general (yes, I am dramatic today, aren't I?) All I could think was, "Lord, this can't be true, please, tell me this isn't true."

My husband and I have watched enough videos and read enough research to understand the validity of the King James Version and that this scripture is truly God breathed. Our Heavenly Father is not a racist nor would he turn his back on His people whether they be Jew or Gentile. So I pressed forward. I felt in my heart there was a better answer. Just after breathing my plea to God, I discovered Bella Online, the Voice of Women and this article by Lynne Chapman:

A Dialogue With God – Mark 7:25-30
In the Bible, in the book of Mark,
there is a brief story of a woman who interrupted Jesus in one of His private
times. It is said that Jesus was in the vicinity of Tyre – in Phoenicia, on the
Mediterranean - to privately minister to His disciples. He was not there to
teach publicly, but word always traveled fast when Jesus was in the area. It
wasn’t easy for Him to be alone and a desperate gentile woman found Him in one
of these rare moments.

She fell at His feet to make her request, telling Him that her daughter was
possessed by an evil spirit. She knew that Jesus had driven out demons before
and that He could heal her daughter. Jesus said an odd thing. It sounds
especially so to us, 2000 years later. He simply said that it was not right to
throw the children’s bread to the dogs. The term used here for “dogs” is the
word for household pets. He meant that at a family meal, one doesn’t give the
children’s food to the pets. The “children” were the apostles, who He had come
to teach. The “pets” were those who were not apostles. (Some commentators say
that the “children” meant the Jews and the “dogs” meant the gentiles.)

Whatever the exact meaning, this gentile woman didn’t give up. She could
have been insulted and refused to talk to Him. She could have been discouraged
and left His presence but she was not deterred. She used Jesus’ own analogy and
answered by saying that even the family pets ate the crumbs under the table. She
would be grateful for even a crumb from the Master. Jesus could see that she
truly believed and had faith in Him. The Bible says that by her answer, her
daughter was healed. Jesus didn’t have to touch the girl and He didn’t need to
say a word. The demon had left her.

In reading this story, I see that we must believe in God’s ability to heal
any situation, and we must believe in His love for us. We must STAY
in His presence
. Our prayer might require a dialog with God and we
must not give up easily.

In that quiet, personal time of desperation when it’s just you and God, ask
for what you need from Him. Talk to Him as though He is Jesus, the man, standing
there. Be assured that you are worth His answer and mercy. Know that the answer
to your prayer might come at any moment.

This article made more sense to me than all the other sites I visited combined. This seemed to show the true character of Jesus and the scriptures that portray His amazing life. Thank you, Lord, for leading me to TRUTH. I pray others will see through the lies I had to endure at first.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tips for working with the minds of dyslexia

I am working and working to get curriculum and thoughts in order. My brain is getting very cluttered! So I thought I would de-clutter one matter/ share some research here :-)

As you (and I) prepare our outlines for the coming school year I felt this info would be helpful to consider if you have, or suspect you have, a dyslexic child. These helpful tips are taken from an article by Maria Filomena Teixeira at Dyslexia Teacher.

- If your child asks how something works (that you are using) avoid the temptation to lecture about it. Instead, use it and say, "Watch!". Dyslexics learn more from watching and exploring than they do from listening to you explain it.

- "For these children, the brain is not neatly divided into two areas, which can separate and deal with stimuli. Mixed dominance is characteristic of dyslexia. For a person with mixed dominance, merely listening, reading and writing do not accomplish learning effectively."

- We must incorporate as many senses as possible when teaching any concept. Think tactile.

- Look for patterns and encourage self expression.

- "The process of learning is not just logical, it is sensual. It is up to us to see to it that the stimuli we present have personal meaning."

- Bring the real world into the classroom.

- "There is no love in workbooks and no personal meaning in a sentence made up by the teacher and copied off the chalkboard by the children. In essence, a holistic approach is needed to ensure that the best possible attempt has been made to ensure the fullest level of understanding." I find unit studies to be priceless in this regard.

- Dyslexia affects more than just reading. Be conscientious of this. Research and know what you can do to assist other weak areas.

- Know your child's learning style... this is true with all children and especially so with dyslexics.

- Teach them to use logic rather than rote memory. Short-term and long-term memory are areas of weakness for dyslexics. Most do have healthy intelligence so appeal to their logic side!

- Present material sequentially and build up slowly step by step.

- Dyslexics "remember best when facts and experiences are connected with one another and when the material is presented in small units. 'Less is better'"

- Encourage them to practice and every time you start a lesson (you) keep side notes to incorporate in a review. (I like to make small flash cards to be used in a homemade board game for review. If you want info on this, message and let me know!)

- Organization is NOT a strong suit of dyslexics. Keep this in mind, be sensitive to their emotional climate, and just take time to laugh and enjoy each other!

There is a lot of good information at this website I found these tips from. However, I do prefer the Davis Method for therapy and teaching techniques for their more thorough approach. You can purchase, The Gift of Dyslexia by Ronald D. Davis to get the step-by-step methods of this approach as well as some great info on Dyslexia (an in-depth article is coming soon!) Mnemonics work ok for mild to moderate dyslexics but not always well for the more severely diagnosed.

Most importantly, LDonline recommends that parents become experts on the gift of dyslexia. I have resources linked on my main page and I am continually reading books and searching out more information. Check back often and ask questions if you need or can't find something I will be happy to share what I know or help you find what I don't!

Happy teachings everyone!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Drawing the lines in family management

I was sitting down at the lake today with friends and talking about life and kids and the intertwining of the two. One mother of 8 (or is it 9) lamented to the fact they are rarely all together on one day anymore. This one goes to youth group there, the other is at a friends here.... etc. Her children range in age from 1 - 23 so her experiences in the matter go beyond my own as of yet.

However, her concerns are not uncommon of parents today, whether a family is large or small. My own family is barely medium size with just 4 children. But we have experienced our share of stretched out elastic. With Z in sports and public school, Ash did volleyball for a while and B enjoyed soccer for a season. Never mind my husband's schedule and my own when I was in school.

But what do we do to stop the marry-go-round spinning? This conversation gave me cause to reflect on some tidbits I have heard here and there. The first one was from Lorrie Flem of TEACH magazine. She spoke at our homeschooling convention back in May. Her 9 kids have always had the rule of no sleep-overs away from the house.... ever. She simply pointed out that they were a family, they were to sleep at home. Not that her children don't enjoy friendships and family trips to sleep elsewhere.... but the children off alone, no way.

I have given a lot of thought to Lorrie's confession. I have considered adopting it myself but have been reluctant.
Then there was my friend's admission to multiple youth groups and such. This brought up another parent's sharing in the book, Real Life Homeschooling by Rhonda Barfield. Again, they were a large family. The father suggested that anything done outside of schoolwork was done as a family or not done at all. Specifically, one child does not play soccer while another plays baseball. He explains the chaos that would ensue if they had to shuttle this one here and that one there...

Where do we draw the line? Are we unfair to adopt such policies as no sleep-overs and no extracurricular? Are we crazy?

After chatting with the ladies today it all became clear: No. We are not absurd to draw our children in. I don't want our family time robbed by their social extras. We have neighborhood kids they play with some days. We go places as a family where they engage their peers. I am stuck with football and Z because of school and forces beyond my control (I must admit, though, I do enjoy watching him play football!). However, there is much I can do to sway the happenings of my younger three. My friend's scenario woke me up to the need to be proactive in these little extras.

This may not work for everyone. But I think we may try it for us. If one does AWANAS they all do AWANAS or none do it. If one does 4H they all do 4H, or none. Both clubs have intrigued all my children. Neither is vital but both are fruitful. I had considered B in AWANAS again this year and starting Ash in 4H and Bk in???
I have been praying for God's guidance in the decision process. Perhaps my ponderings on this matter are His message to me. My interactions at the lake today were His vehicle for this thought process.
As if we weren't already off the mainstream... we may veer even farther off the beaten path! His will and His purpose always lead to greener pastures.